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Emotional Immaturity

A short time watching the world news nowadays will expose you to the worst of human nature. During political upheavals in some countries you can see riots in the streets, police corruption, looting, drug gangs warfare, tortures, intentional fire setting and widespread destruction.  But these are some extreme examples of what humans unleashing their emotional impulses can be like.

It is easy to say that human beings are like that and to paint with a broad brush humanity in its entirety. We forget that humanity includes some amazing examples of positive human beings, such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, Nelson Mandela, Einstein, and others.

Many of the day to day family violence, bullying, and destruction happening in our society comes from people who are extremely emotionally immature.  Unable to control their impulses, raging with anger and victimization, they bring pain and destruction to the lives of innocent others.

It is not that mature human beings don’t have the capacity to defend themselves and are not justified in fighting fire with fire on some occasions when all could be lost if they didn’t.  The root of the difficulties lie with individuals who seek meaning in their lives by creating unnecessary drama.

Democracy and society depend greatly on the maturity of its citizens by taking upon themselves the responsibility of work, care, education, and ethical behavior.  When we put an unbridle emphasis on rights above responsibility we inflame the fires of irresponsibility and entitlement. Society and the weakest among us end up paying the price.

What constitutes an emotionally immature person?  Many people hide it well by imitating the behavior of mature people.  An adult who has the emotional age of a child will be pathologically irresponsible, hurtful, mean, and disrespectful to significant others.  Anger fueled by stress can turn into rage, anxiety, and depression.  For these adult-children the rules of society were not imprinted in their lives as children.  They easily break boundaries whenever they find an object of their desire.  They scream, yell, and throw tantrums with great facility. They don’t know how to wait their turn or ask for something nicely.

It is a sad story when you see an adult behave like a child while having a full-fledged tantrum. It is obscene and pathetic to say the least.  Some of these emotional  blow-ups are common and they usually function like a snowball effect. Emotional inconsistency is part and parcel of their lives.

Another feature of their day-to-day behavior consists of playing the victim and blaming others when things go wrong in their lives. There are no attempts to strategize in order to find solutions to their personal problems.  This directly leads to an un-acknowledged dependency and a marked sense of ungratefulness for the good they have in their lives.

A defiance of authority figures and a clear lack of control when it comes to their impulses can also be common features of their behavior. They snap easily, throwing things, name calling, and cussing when they don’t get their way.  A child doesn’t understand that others may have feelings or needs.  They will develop that understanding later on with proper parental training.

An emotionally unstable adult is a narcissist.  The inability to control one’s emotions and to take responsibility for oneself to accept the challenges and opportunities that life has to give is what immaturity is all about.  These people can be very difficult to deal with and they always end up bringing others down to their level if they don’t become aware that emotional immaturity is the issue they are dealing with. Often, the underlying issue is immaturity even though they may be facing anxiety, depression, violent outbursts, conduct disorder issues, and the like.  The comorbidity is high with many of these pathologies.

They see the world as black and white and cannot accept the reality of the world. They insist in manipulating everyone to get them to accept their world view, taking it personally if others don’t agree.  The idea of working patiently towards positive change is a foreign concept.  They demand special treatment and to be the center of attention, they will not take no for an answer.

So what do you do if someone you care about is emotionally immature or if you notice some of these traits in yourself?  First, if you are in a relationship with this individual and you care a lot for him/her then make sure what the main issue is and expect further explosive behavior.  Focus on the positive aspects of the individual personality and don’t let the negative aspects get to you. If the relationship turns sour and hurtful, your first responsibility is to yourself and make a well planned exit.  It is in relationships that these individuals really show their true colors because of the lack of control they feel as they are exposed to someone else’s moods and feelings.

The only certainty in life is that life changes.  Accept that there is no control.  Realize that in this world everyone is carrying some kind of dysfunction that they are struggling to overcome in order to fit in.  Accept yourself and accept others the way they are.  Live and let live and come to the realization that pain is part of the human experience as is unfairness and injustice.  Love others and love yourself.  Take stock in your positive aspects and strive to be a little better everyday.  Have compassion for others and make gratefulness your north star.

Meditate and seek calmness in your life daily.  Then once you feel you have reached a plateau look deep inside yourself and take accountability for your negative behavior and traits that may have contributed to your social difficulties.  Looking deep into your own soul is not an easy task.  Ask yourself how am I amplifying difficulties into my life?

Moreover, if you are dealing with an immature narcissist that seeks to dominate you, try to escape his/her snares by staying open to differences, never lose sight of your honesty and uniqueness, stay authentic.  Don’t be condescending or rude back to him/her.  Create a relaxed environment if you are stressed to protect yourself.

Narcissists don’t care about others as they want to spread their emotional turmoil to everyone.  Stick to your values, emotional intelligence, and critical thinking skills. You set your own pace and energy level.  They are often unwilling to hear any other perspectives.  Mature people make informed choices, they are flexible, not dogmatic, and they don’t function according to an agenda.

Ultimately conflict is seen as an opportunity to learn and grow for mature individuals.  Immature people seek to be the conquerors that crush the opposition with no mercy because they consider them losers. They don’t appreciate people or give them any credit for a job well done. They seek to get all the credit for themselves.

Ultimately, a proper sense of priorities is the what differentiates mature and immature individuals.  Love in a relationship, kindness, feelings, and others’ needs are all important to the mature individual.  An immature individual cannot truly embrace and let go of himself in a relationship.  They seek admiration and acclaim form others, confusing that with love.

Finally, grow up! Find your own authority and avoid tyrannical controlling personalities.  Manifest your potential in the real world.  Take care of yourself and others. Face your fears and become independent from your family as a human being.  Join the community and take your place in it by caring about others.  Culture requires structure and discipline, these will mold you as a wise person.  Also, stay close to nature because it is the source of our being and our beginning as a species. There in the early day of humanity we learn to be warriors and we were forged to live in it.  Our civilization often functions as a prison and a school, our inner freedom is rooted in our ancestral memories of green pastures and trees.  Only there we can find our true identity as we evolved from the animal to the human. To quote John Muir : “The world we are told, was made especially for men- a presumption not supported by all the facts.”



News Reporter
I have a master degree in Psychology. I have worked in the mental health field for decades, either teaching art and creative photography to Autistic adults or in behavioral hospitals with teens. I’ve received mindfulness training from eastern teachers specializing in Tibetan, Krishna and Zen meditation. My goal is to help people that currently struggle with anxiety and depression as we delve deep into Positive Psychology for effective coping skills. Also I’d like to find others of a similar mindset for mutual learning and collaboration through this blog.
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